Listen to Cam Newton. He sounds dead serious.
"I refuse to be a statistic," declares the quarterback expected to be drafted No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers.
"When I get to the NFL, I never want it to be, 'Cam got around the wrong people.' Or, 'Cam didn't know how to handle his money.' Or, 'Cam didn't learn the system.' I refuse to do anything that's going to be detrimental to me making the most of this opportunity."
Newton, who turns 22 on May 11, realizes that he is the lightning rod of this year's NFL Draft — which begins Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York amid an NFL labor storm underscored by a lockout of players that has sparked a fierce legal battle.